Mike Flinn (@realmikeflinn) isn’t just a podcast producer and engineer; he’s also an avid fan of the form. “My Pod Week” recaps and reviews the many varied comedy podcasts Flinn listened to or attended live tapings of during the previous week. Enjoy!

SLUMBER PARTY with ALIE and GEORGIA (Episode #37: *LIVE* with Giada De Laurentiis)

AGfinalWe may be at the dawn of a media empire sprung from the loins of a cocktail called The McNuggetini. Television personalities Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark did their second-ever live podcast at the Hollywood Improv, with culinary hall of famer Giada De Laurentiis, host of the Food Network television program Giada at Home, as their guest. Food Network cameras were rolling so set your DVRs. The stage was set up like a living room, if that living room had a teepee in it. Alie and Georgia had the energy level of kids that have had way too much sugar and would probably be up all night. The ladies were in sleepwear like many of the hardcore Slumber Party fans in attendance. Pajama-clad Giada even brought gourmet snacks with her and demonstrated how to eat on television, much to our collective glee. It’s called Slumber Party for a reason, so naturally some slumber party-type-questions got asked, like what was your first kiss like? When Alie described a sloppy tongue battle of a first kiss, a concerned Giada asked, “Did he bite you in any way”? Also asked, what’s your most decadent midnight snack? Giada had a good one that hit the entire audience right in the salivary glands. Show highlights included a clairvoyant Alie Ward and the true urban legend of an Atari game landfill, ghost stories European edition, and the unexpected physical comedy of Georgia trying to grow a penis. The show was lively and casual, framed by storytelling and a little etymology. When it was over people crowded around Giada for autographs and she was really nice and accommodating to her fans. Alie, Georgia, and producer Dustin cleared the stage and folded up the tee pee like a tribe. Then our hosts gave hugs and posed for photos in the parking lot. I’m wearing pajamas next time.

ARI SHAFFIR’S SKEPTIC TANK (Episode #163: Little)

There has not been an episode of this podcast that I didn’t find fascinating. Many of Ari’s episodes are between two and four hours in length. That’s a lot of quality entertainment for the low low price of free. The main focus of the show is comedy and life surrounding comedy. Shaffir has, however, had some great episodes with civilians like #152 about selling drugs, #149 life as a medical doctor, and #151 living with Asperger’s syndrome. The intro for this episode starts with Ari talking about leaving his home of 10 years in Los Angeles for New York. He did a nice thing by inviting struggling comedians to come over to his place and take all of his stuff. This part gave me flashbacks of my own garage sale grind/burn your life down and start over super-sales event from last summer. Ari recorded this one on the patio of The Comedy Store in Hollywood and was joined by three comedians that you should know more about. Brad Williams talks about his first showbiz job touring art shows in an olive costume and his new podcast with Adam Ray called ABOUT LAST NIGHT. Tony Hinchcliffe from the KILL TONY podcast appeared briefly for some sidewalk interaction with a StarLine tour bus group. Ari and Brad get back to the show and cover gay rights, Jesus of Sunset Boulevard, and what it’s like to be 4-foot-4 in Hollywood. Ari gets down to the real details about life at Brad’s height at the 1:58:16 mark. Comedy Store regular Sarah Tiana stops in for a second to reminisce about taping the pilot for the Comedy Central show The Burn with Jeff Ross and we get a taste of how unpredictable working in television can be. I keep coming back to this podcast because Ari brings a genuinely inquisitive approach to every interview. He listens when his guests are talking and asks good follow-up questions instead of verbally jousting with them. When I hear a host bring real enthusiasm to every episode like Ari Shaffir does, it makes me want to support them by finding out what they have for sale and by making an effort to see them perform live.

FIRST DATES with RORY and ZOË (Episode #41: @IamEnidColeslaw)
Rory Goodman-Farley and Zoë Klar have a dating podcast. It sounds logistically difficult but thanks to modern technology they can get right to the important part of a date without being sidetracked by noisy dance clubs or restaurants. This date is between Rory and Mary Charlene. Rory is in Portland and Mary is in Chicago so let’s suspend disbelief a little and entertain the possibilities. Mary is not on TV or in movies that I’m aware of. She works during the day as a receptionist at an animal hospital in Chicago. She joined Twitter in 2010 and found a place to be all the things that you can’t be as a receptionist. It’s hard to be real, dark, or sometimes even gross when you deal with the public. I tried doing that when I was a receptionist and was almost fired for it more times than I care to remember. As Rory points out in this episode, Mary happens to be attractive as well as smart, so who wouldn’t want a date? They start with the normal pace of first-date give and take. It’s fun hearing others go through that awkward social test that so many of us are bad at. Rory was a confident host skilled at moving the date forward. Things even get heated in a passionate five-star restaurant fantasy, and date referee Zoë gets a little steamy herself. One of my favorite parts of the episode was when Mary shared a first-date horror story about a post-sex trip to the bathroom that housed a cat box that had not been cleaned in months. I don’t care who it is, or what the situation is, when you see a biohazard on that level it’s time to run out the door screaming and call 911. Our host may have won the date with a sleeping butt-to-butt proposal. Mary and Zoë agree that his desire to share some backside body heat may have been a game changer. Rory might want to consider a new life in the windy city.

Mike Flinn is a podcast producer/engineer based in West Hollywood, Calif., for All Things Comedy. The views expressed in My Pod Week are purely his own.